Deborah Ross: This is not gardening as it is commonly regarded, this is hacking at stuff with whatever is to hand

If you ask me
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The Independent Online

If you ask me - which you should, as I am wise beyond my years (doctors tell me I have a wise age at least 10 years above my actual age) - gardening is all very well but I wonder why one particular style has yet to be officially recognised. This style is called, I would say, Randomly Hacking At Stuff When The Mood Strikes, and although I have searched though all my gardening books, or certainly would do if I had any, I cannot find any mention of it at all.

This is strange as my own husband, for example, is very much of this school, and is quite the expert at randomly hacking at stuff when the mood strikes. He may even be one of the world's leading experts, although whenever I put this to him, modesty always prevails, and he is reluctant to admit it. "Have you been hacking things back at random?" I might ask, when he comes in from the garden.

"Did the mood strike?" "No," he will say.

"I was not hacking at things at random. I was gardening." "I think," I might continue, "that I glimpsed you beating back a bush with a golf club." "That bush was getting way too big," he might say.

"This is not gardening as it is commonly regarded," I might say, "this is hacking at stuff when the mood strikes and with whatever happens to be to hand, like a golf club." "No," he will persist, "I was gardening." I hope, ultimately, I can get him to overcome his modesty and perhaps write a book entitled Randomly Hacking At Stuff When The Mood Strikes, perhaps accompanied by photographs of beaten bushes, flayed trees, and the space where the clematis used to be, before it was hacked to death because "I thought itwas a weed".

Should you ever take up this style of gardening and hack a clematis to death because you think it is a weed, you must try to look mournful before giving up, and saying something along the lines of: "Oh well, it's done now." That seems to be how it goes. Anyway, I do hope to get the book into the shops soon, and it may even come with a free stack of dynamite. Or, as I often say to my husband: "Why don't you just blowthe garden up and be done with it? Might as well."

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